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Me Too: Japanese Filmmaker Sion Sono Faces Multiple Sexual Harassment Allegations

Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono, who directed actor Nicholas Cage in Prisoners of the Ghostland, has been slapped with multiple allegations of sexual harassment from various female actors, in what can be called Japan’s delayed initiation into the ‘Me Too’ movement.


Japanese magazine Shukan Josei Prime reported that several female actors accused the director of films like Love Exposure of making sexual advances towards “most of his leading ladies.”

“Even now, there is a director who has no qualms about saying, ‘If you screw me, I’ll give you work’. His films are acclaimed and many actresses want to appear in them. He uses that to assault women as if it’s nothing. That director is Sion Sono,” an executive at a Japanese film distribution company told the magazine.

An unnamed female actor recounted her experiences with Sono and told the publication that he had tried to force her to have sex with him, soon after offering her a role in one of his films. When she refused, Sono reportedly called in another woman, who had worked with him before, and proceeded to engage in sexual acts with her in the former’s presence.

The actor went on to add that Sono told her about several women who had been sexually involved with him for many years since they wanted to work with him and said they had garnered success in the industry by doing so.

Another unnamed actor said that Sono had coerced her into sex in exchange for work. Sono had allegedly said, “I want to screw you while you’re talking to your boyfriend on the phone.” When she told him that she did not have a boyfriend, the director had reportedly responded, “Well, get one, I like that kind of thing.”


Allegations against Sono surfaced a month after Japanese director Hideo Sakaki and actor Houka Kinoshita faced similar allegations from multiple women. Sakaki’s film, Honeymoon, that deals with sexual abuse, has been put on hold since.

Sono rose to prominence with the 2001 horror film Suicide Club, which follows a series of interconnected mass suicides. It earned him the prize for Most Ground-Breaking Film at the Fantasia Film Festival, and even birthed a manga adaptation.

This was followed by Love Exposure (2008), which bagged the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (2013), that earned him recognition at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The 60-year-old director is yet to respond to the allegations raised against him.